Save DU from the Politics of Hate and Communal Poison
On January 8, 2016, a Joint Press Conference of several organizations affiliated to the left was organized at 2 pm to protest the Delhi University’s permission to host a seminar on the Ramjanmabhoomi issue on January 9.
The protests against the seminar by Arundhati Vashishtha Anusandhan Peeth ‘to mobilise public opinion for the Ram Janambhoomi temple’ is growing. Addressing the meet at the gate of the Arts Faculty, which is the chosen venue for the proposed seminar, students and teachers reiterated their demand that permission for such a seminar that actually seeks to spread the politics of division within the University and permission should be withdrawn.
Speakers included professors, Shaswati Mazumdar, Germanic and Romance Studies and President, DTF, Sunil Kumar, History Department, Ali Javed, Urdu Department, Najma Rehmani, Urdu Department, Rukmani Sen, President, Ambedkar University Delhi Faculty Association and Madhu Prasad, member, AIFRTE. The press conference was also addressed by representatives from students’ organisations including Chinglen Khumukcham (NEFIS), Rahul Sarkar (AIDSO), Aman Nawaz (AISA), Prashant Mukherjee (SFI), Deepak Gupta (PACHHAS), Subhash (KYS), Amrita (AISF), Divya (Disha), Ayantika (DSU), Chaitanya (Nowruz) and Kuldeep (BSCEM).
Professor Sunil Kumar (Department of History) pointed out that in the last five years, the DU administration has done everything possible to suppress the culture of debate. The administration has been consistently denying space for teachers and students to hold meetings or discussions. The permission to the seminar on Ram Janambhoomi to the Peeth clearly shows that the administration is patronising a particular ideology. It was this same administration that forced the Department of History to remove Ramanujan’s Three Hundred Ramayanas from the syllabus.
Professor Rukmani Sen from AUD said that it is time for academicians and students to come together from across the universities against this attack by the forces of majoritarianism and against the communalisation of educational institutions. She said that this seminar has to been seen as yet another way in which education is being reoriented to further VHP-RSS agenda.
Professor Shaswati Mazumdar stressed the point that universities are places where students from various backgrounds come together in pursuit of meaningful education and that the communalisation of universities will lead to breakdown of liberal academic environment.
Professor Madhu Prasad pointed to the twin attack on public funded universities. While the Government has reduced funding to education and is going ahead with the agenda of offering Higher Education to WTO-GATs, seminars like this aim at communalising the environment of public funded universities.
Other speakers criticized the position taken by the DU Administration in claiming that they did not know the content or the topic of the seminar at the time of booking. If that is the case, then the permission could now easily be withdrawn. The double speak by the University that anyone could hire the hall for holding any activity does not hold true as speakers pointed out how the hall had been denied in the past to other organisations and groups. Professor Ali Javed recounted how he was denied permission to hold seminar on the crisis facing Higher Education but this seminar was given permission so easily! Speakers also stressed how the seminar is clearly not an academic activity or even intended to be debate, borne out by statements by leaders of the VHP that the issue of the temple at Ram Janmabhoomi was “a matter of faith”. Statements that the blueprint for the construction of the temple would be prepared at the seminar also clearly indicate how the university campus is being sought to be polarized.
Students said that the major issues facing them like the access to quality education and employment opportunities are not being addressed while activities such as this seminar seek to divide the students on communal lines and divert the attention from the main issues before the youth and the country. They also condemned the university administration for not addressing the issues facing students and for denying spaces to them for various activities while giving permission for such dubious seminars.
Save Du will organize a cultural protest programme tomorrow from 10 am to 2 pm at Arts Faculty with the participation of writers, artists, cultural activists, lawyers and educators. Student participants in today’s programme and in tomorrow’s cultural protest spoke with determination of their resolve to not allow this destruction of the secular fabric of the university and the country. The need of the hour is to stand together in this fight against the politics of hate and to foist the plans of the Sangh Parivar to spread communal poison.
(Press release issued by the All India Democratic Students Organisation, All India Students Association, All India Students Federation, Bhagat Singh Chhatra Ekta Manch, Common Teachers Forum, Disha, Democratic Students’ Union, Democratic Teachers’ Front,
Janwadi Shikshak Manch, Krantikari Yuva Sangathan, North-East Forum for International Solidarity Nowruz, Parivartankami Chhatra Sanghtan (PACHHAS) and the Students’ Federation of India)
This article originally appeared here.